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Musical Context of Bach Cantatas
Motets & Chorales for Pentecost Festival

 

Whit Sunday, 1st Day of Pentecost

Readings: Epistle: Acts 2: 1-13; Gospel: John 14: 23-31

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

Whit Monday, 2nd Day of Pentecost

Readings: Epistle: Acts 10: 42-48; Gospel: John 3: 16-21

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

Whit Tuesday, 3rd Day of Pentecost

Readings: Epistle: Acts 8: 14-17; Gospel: John 10: 1-10

Dates in the lifetime of J.S. Bach, including works composed for the event

 

Motets and Chorales for Pentecost Festival

 
 

Pentecost Festival: Cantatas, Chorales, Motets, etc.

William Hoffman wrote (May 24, 2015):
Bach’s Pentecost Festival odyssey for the birth of the Christian Church proves to be one of uniformity, complexity, diversity and practicality -- and even some repetition. While not as extensive as the three-day Christmas Festival but much more so than the three-day Easter Festival, Bach’s <Pfingsten> compositions use various well-known chorales with mostly traditional trappings created in a period of more than 30 years. The libretti seem appropriate and competent to fulfill the utilitarian need for parody/recycling of pre-existing materials while Cantor Bach rushed to complete the Thomas School year. Re: [BachCantatas] Cantatas as drama, BCW http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Topics/Drama.htm

For Pentecost Sunday, the first Day of Pentecost, or Whitsun (White Sunday for the vestment color), Bach seems to have emphasized appropriate church songs beyond serviceable texts that make perfunctory references to the New Testament Gospel and Epistle lessons with intrinsic themes of fidelity, inspiration, and commitment. The story of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit are told not in the Gospel lessons but in the Epistle lessons: Pentecost Sunday, Acts 2:1-13 (The Coming of the Holy Spirit); Pentecost Monday, Acts 10:44-48 (The Gentiles Receive the Holy Spirit); and Pentecost Tuesday, Acts 8:14-17 (Holy Spirit in Sumaria).

For the second and third days of the Pentecost Festival, Monday and Tuesday, Bach turned from celebratory to more intimate music while restricting his creative efforts. In the third cycle of 1726 there are no compositions documented for the entire three-day festival. Bach even rejected available cantatas of his cousin Johann Ludwig with their Rudolstadt texts that he had previously substituted systematically. He composed no new cantatas for six months, between the Second Sunday After Epiphany (January 20, BWV 13) and the First Sunday After Trinity (June 23, BWV 39), with the exception of BWV 43 for the Ascension Day Festival, with 11 movements in two parts.

PENTECOST FESTIVAL SERVICE MUSICAL CONTEXT

It is perhaps most appropriate to begin with the Musical Context of the Pentecost Sunday services in Leipzig, as outlined by Douglas Cowling in a recent BCW Discussion and also found in <Das Neu Leipziger Gesangbuch>, Gottfried Vopelius (1682) (NLGB), the Collection of Motets,1 and references to the <Lieber Usualus >(LU) omnibus Gregorian chant book: http://quilisma-publications.info/pdf%20files/Full%20Liber%20Usualis/(16)%20Liber%20Usualis,%20Pp%201600-1699.pdf

PENTECOST (First Day of Pentecost)

1. Introit (Antiphon): “Spiritus Domini” (Not in NLGB, Liber Usualis 878), The Spirit of the Lord” (Wisdom 1:7), Psalm 68:3 (Let the righteous be glad); Psalm reading: Ps. 68, Praise and Thanksgiving.
Spíritus Dómini
replévit órbem terrárum,
allelúia:
et hoc quod cóntinet ómnia,
sciéntiam hábet vócis,
allelúia, allelúia, allelúia.
The Spirit of the Lord
|hath filled the whole world,|
alleluia;|
and that which containeth all things|
hath knowledge of the voice,
alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
2. Motet: “Spiritus sancti gratia (NLGB 394I, 397II) illuminet sensus et corda nostra,” (May the grace of the Holy Spirit illuminate our senses and our hearts) (Office Hours Ordinary). <Orgelbüchlein> (OB) organ chorale preludes, No. 46 (not set), “Spiritus sancti gratia” or “Des Heiligen Geistes reichte Gnad” (The Holy Ghost carries grace), NLGB 396; adaptation of Latin hymn, 6 stanzas, J. Herman Schein 1627.
3. Hymn de tempore: “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (Come Holy Spirit, Lord God), NLGB 391 (translation, Pentecost Sequence <Veni Sancte Spiritus> (LU 879, Pentecost Sequence; NLGB 390), 10 3-line stanzas (aab), melody from antiphon <Adesto, sancta spiritus> (Marchetto di Padua, c.1270); hymn text, Luther/Walther 1524, 3 stanzas); hymn usages: 172/5 mel., 59/3 (S.1), 59/5 (S.3)]. Also, “O Gottes Geist, mein Trost und Rat” (O God’s Spirit, my trust and Support), Text 2, J. Rist 1652, 12 stanzas (not in NLGB); hymn usage, 75/7, S.9, “Nun, werter Geist, ich folg dir” (Now, honored spirit, I follow you):
Allelúia.
Véni Sáncte Spíritus,
réple tuórum córda fidélium:
et túi amóris
in éis ígnem accénde.
Alleluia.
Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of Thy faithful:
and kindle in them the fire
of Thy love.
4. Pulpit Hymn: “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” (Now we pray to the Holy Spirit) (Luther/Walter 1524, 4 stanzas (NLGB 402); hymn usage, plain chorale, BWV 385.
5. Various Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing: “Gott Vater, sende deinen Geist” (God the Father, send Thy Spirit”); P. Gerhardt 16 stanzas, 1653; melody. “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes” (Come here to me, says God’s son), G. Grünwald 1530, melody anon. (NLGB 622), Trinity 1 & 26). Stiller, Ascension, Dresden; Leipzig, “Various Hymns, Pentecost Sunday & Tuesday”; hymn usages: 74/8 (S.2), Pent. Sun.; 108/6 (S.10) Easter 4.
6. Vespers Motets: “Veni Sancte Spiritus” or “Komm, Heiliger Geist, erfüll die Herzen deiner Gläubigen” (Come, Holy Spirits, fill the hearts of your believers), Luther 1524 (NLGB 390, vespers litany) OB 42, not set. “Si qui diligit me sermonem” (Those who love me will keep my word) (John 14:23), David Peebles (d.1579?) 1530 motet (not in NLGB). “Apparuerunt Apostolis,” anonymous (reponsory, antiphon); Votive Office of the Holy Spirit (chant, mode 7): “Apparuerunt apostolis dispertitae linguae tamquam ignis, seditque supra singulos eorum Spiritus Sanctus, alleluia” (Acts 2:3 “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them); NLGB 411; also settings of Heinrich Finck, Thomas Pöpel, Ludwig Senfl, Johann Walter, Jakob Froberger.
Introit Psalm Motets for the Pentecost Festival are Sunday (Pentecost 1), Psalm 51, Miserere mei, Deus, “Have mercy upon me, O God”); Monday (Pentecost 2), Psalm 116, Dilexi, quoniam, “I love the Lord”; and Tuesday (Pentecost 3): Psalm 110, Dixit Dominus, “The Lord said unto me,” according to Martin Petzoldt in his Bach Commentary, Vol. 2, Advent to Trinitifest.2 For Extensive details of Psalm 51 and Bach’s German setting, BWV 1083, see BCML http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV1083-Gen2.htm.

Specific Chorales Bach Used in Pentecost Sunday Cantatas:

Cantata 172, Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (Ring out, ye songs, resound, ye strings) (1714)
BWV 172/5, SA aria: melody (oboe d’amore), “Komm heiliger Geist, Harre Gott” (hymn de tempore);
BWV 172/6, P. Niccolai hymn, 1599 Epiphany Song, “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” (How lovely shines the morningstar) (7 stanzas); S. 4, “Von Gott kömmt mir ein Freudenschein” (From God comes to me a joy-light) (NLGB 313, Trinity 20, 27). Hymn usages: Cantatas BWV 1/1, BWV 1/6 (Annunciation), BWV 36/4 (Advent), BWV 37/3 (Ascension), BWV 49/6 (Trinity 20), BWV 61/6 (Advent), BWV 172/6 (Ascension), BWV Anh 199/3 (Annunciation); Chorale BWV 436; Organ-chBWV 739.
+Cantata 59, Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten I (He who loves me, he will my word keep)
[?1723/1724]: Two chorales: 59/3=175/7 (music, ET), “Komm heiliger Geist, Harre Gott” (S.1); 59/5, “Komm heiliger Geist, Harre Gott” (hymn de tempore), S.3 “Du heilige Brunst, süßer Trost” (You sacred warmth, sweet consolation) (repeats 59/3 music or =6/6 music, “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Lead us, Lord, with Thy Word), NLGB 305. One of Luther’s signature hymns (7 stanzas, 1542), J. Klug melody (1543), service closing hymn, Reformation. Hymn uses: OB 122 (c.1710), The Word of God and the Christian Church (not set); hymn settings: BWV 6/6, Easter 2 (S.2); Chorale Cantata 126, Sexagismae; BWV 318 plain chorale; BWV 1103, Neumeister organ chorale prelude; Anh. 50, organ chorale prelude, doubtful.
Cantata 74, Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten II (He who loves me, he will my word keep), (1725); Chorale: 74/8, “Gott Vater, sende deiner Geist” (God the Father, send Thy Spirit”); P. Gerhardt 16 stanzas, 1653; S.2, “Kein Menschenkind hier auf der Erd” (No human being here on earth); melody “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes” (Come here to me, says God’s son).
+Cantata BWV 218, “Gott der Hoffnung erfulle euch” (1717), Georg Philippe Telemann, TVWV1:634 (1717, 1721, 1731)” Chorale: 218/5, “Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist” (Come, Creator God, Holy Spirit); BWV 370, 631(a)=OB 44, 667(a); Luther 1524, 7 stanzas; melody J. Klug 1535;< Veni-creator spiritus>, from H. Marus, 9 c. chant, 6 verses

Pentecost Sunday Cantata Compositions

Bach’s first composition in Leipzig in May 1723 probably was the brief, concise Pentecost Cantata 59 (Neumesiter IV libretto, 1714), May 16, 1723, at the Paulinerkirche, the Leipzig University church. It uses the Gospel dictum as the opening chorus, “He who loves me, he will my word keep,” (Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten), John 14: 23-31, the Promise of the Spirit. This final Last Supper Farewell Discourse to the Disciples also is found in Bach’s first Pentecost Cantata 172 (Weimar, 1714), No. 2, bass secco recitative and arioso (probably Salomo Franck libretto). The opening chorus, BWV 59/1, was recycled in 1725 for Bach’s second cantata cycle to open Cantata BWV 74, that also has a parody trio aria, BWV 59/4, as the second movement changed from bass with violin to soprano with oboe da caccia and transposed from C to F Major, to a new Mariane von Ziegler libretto.

On 12/13/10 11:48 PM, "Ed Myskowski" (Cantatas as Drama, Ibid.:) wrote: <<I believe Bach and his librettists have made appropriate use of the material available. I intend to follow up with specific cantata references for the Gospel readings cited above. The Gospel reading always contains the words of Jesus whether he is present in the narrative or not. The upcoming Pentecost Gospel of John 14:23-31 is a good example: Christ departs on Ascension Day but the reading two Sundays later is taken from the Final Discourse of the Last Supper when Christ talks about the action of the Holy Spirit. The church year is really a drama of theologies not narrative theatre. We see this throughout the cantatas where the drama is a theatre of ideas not of narrative events. The achievement of the cantatas is that Bach never fails to find a musical expression to achieve dramatic effect. The opening of this Cantata 59 is a brilliant example. It feels like an operatic finale: the tenor and bass sing a duet which could be construed as a great lament followed by an angry chorus calling for revenge (insert your own scenario here). The theology of the work, however, is about the dramatic struggle of witness and persecution. Bach's approach is extraordinarily nuanced and he never allows his musical solutions to become clichés, even in his own works. The other Easter cantatas used a bass solo singing the dictum for the "Vox Christi". Here it is a bass and tenor duet which expands to the chorus. It is high drama but not a drama of characters and events, but rather of ideas, images, and theologies.>>

Meanwhile, Bach at Pentecost 1724 Bach probably presented two encores: Cantata 59 and a revival of his Weimar Cantata 172, Erschallet, ihr Lieder, erklinget, ihr Saiten! (Ring out, ye songs, resound, ye strings). This festive work had quite an initial career, beginning in Weimar on May 20, 1714. Parts in a C-Major version, survive dating to Bach’s Cöthen service, 1717-23 (Smend, <Bach in Köthen>, 1985: 219) where quite possibly Cantata 172 was Bach’s Hamburg Probe, May 17, 1719 on the day before Ascension Thursday. Its other Pentecost performances in Leipzig were, May 28, 1724; May 13, 1731 in a new version, and finally its fifth documented performance was dated to 1732-35.

Pentecost 1725: For the second cantata cycle in 1725, Bach originally may have considered composing chorale cantatas for the Pentecost Festival. Likely candidates may have been Martin Luther’s popular settings: 1. Pentecost Sunday (de tempore): “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (3 verses, NLGB 123), BCW: www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale103-Eng3.htm; 2. Pentecost Monday: “Komm Gott Schöpfer, Heiliger Geist (6 verses), melody “Also hat Gott” (NLGB 129), www.flickr.com/photos/51243943@N00/4626665843/; and 3. Pentecost Tuesday: “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” (4 verses, NKGB 130)
“Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist” (EKG 130) Ein Lobgesang von dem heiligen Geiste

1. Nun bitten wir den heiligen Geist
Um den rechten Glauben allermeist,
Daß er uns behüte an unserm Ende,
Wenn wir heimfahren aus diesem Elende.
Kyrioleis.
2. Du wertes Licht, gib uns deinen Schein,
Lehr uns Jesum Christ kennen allein,
Daß wir an ihm bleiben, dem treuen Heiland,
Der uns bracht hat zum rechten Vaterland.
Kyrioleis.
3. Du süße Lieb, schenk uns deine Gunst,
Laß uns empfinden der Liebe Brunst,
Daß wir uns von Herzen einander lieben
Und im Friede auf einem Sinn blieben.
Kyrioleis.
4. Du höchster Tröster in aller Not,
Hilf, daß wir nicht fürchten Schand noch Tod,
Daß in uns die Sinnen nicht verzagen,
Wenn der Feind wird das Leben verklagen.
Kyrioleis. Johann Walthersches Gesangbüchlein, 1524

1.We now implore God the Holy Ghost
For the true faith, which we need the most,
|That in our last moments He may befriend us
And, as homeward we journey, attend us.
Lord, have mercy!
2. Shine in our hearts, O most precious Light,
That we Jesus Christ may know aright,
Clinging to our Savior, whose blood hath bought us,
Who again to our homeland hath brought us.
Lord, have mercy!
3. Thou sacred Love, grace on us bestow,
Set our hearts with heav’nly fire aglow
That with hearts united we love each other,
Of one mind, in peace with every brother.
Lord, have mercy!
4. Thou highest Comfort in every need,
Grant that neither shame nor death we heed,
That e’en then our courage may never fail us
When the foe shall accuse and assail us.
Lord, have mercy! http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/w/n/i/wnihghos.htm

Instead, the chorales used in cantatas for the 1725 Pentecost Festival (Ziegler libretti) are: Pentecost Sunday: Cantata 74, “Wer mich liebet, der wird mein Wort halten II” (He who loves me, he will my word keep), (1725); Chorale: 74/8, “Gott Vater, sende deiner Geist”; melody “Kommt her zu mir, spricht Gottes” (NLGB 234, Christian Life & Conduct). Pentecost Monday: Cantata 68, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (1725); Chorale: Chorus 68/1, “Also hat Gott . . . “ (NLGB 233, Justification). Pentecost Tuesday: BWV 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen” (1725); Chorale: 175/7=59/3, “Komm heilger Geist” (melody) (NLGB 123)

Omnes tempore chorales used in Pentecost Festival are the following:

“Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Lead us, Lord, with Thy Word), NLGB 305, Word of God & Christian Church); 59/3=?6/6; “Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, o Herr” (From my heart I hold you dear, O Lord), NLGB 324, Death & Dying; 174/5; “O Herre Gott, dein Götthlich Wort” (O Lord God, Thy Godly Word), NLGB 308, Word of God & Christian Chuirch; 184/; and “Du, o schones Weltgebaude” (O Beautiful Abode of Earth), NKGB 385 Death & Dying; Picander P-40/5 text only
Chorales in <Neu Leiziger Gesangbuch> that Bach apparently did not set: 133. “Heiliger Geist du Troster mein”; 134. “Ein Täublein klein hat keine Gall”; and 139 (Trinity). “Gott der Vater wohn uns bei”

Pentecost 1726

For Bach’s third cantata cycle, Pentecost Sunday, June 9, 1726 there is no documented performance. It is possible that Bach repeated Cantata 74 from a year earlier.

For the Picander (Fourth) Cantata Cycle of texts of June 5,1729, P-38, “Rauset und brauset, ihr heftigen Winde” (Rage and roar, you violent winds), remnants of Martin Luther’s chorale, “Komm heiliger Geist” (Come, Holy Spirit), Movements Nos. 2 and 7 (Stanzas 1 and 3 respectively) may survive as the second-movement plain chorale setting in the Motet BWV 226, “Der Geist hilft unser Schwacheit auf” (The Spirit upholds our weakness), presented ca. October 20, 1729. Here is a passage from Thomas Braatz’ new BCW article, “Information about Bach’s Motets with a Specific Examination of BWV 226,” BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/MotetsHofmann.pdf. Extracted from Klaus Hofmann’s Book on This Subject [p. 23]: “Another thing worth mentioning about the chorale is that it appears not to have composed for this occasion but may have existed as a final chorale for a lost cantata, possibly from the Picander cantata cycle, and it may have originally been in a different key. In the collection of 4-part Bach chorales of 1765 and 1784 it appears in a different key and may have been transposed for use as part of the motet.”

“Later during the service, at the place where Ernesti’s body was interred inside the church, all the members of both choirs assembled to sing the final chorale a capella. It was the third verse of Martin Luther’s” “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herr Gott”:

Du heilige Brunst, süßer Trost,
nun hilff uns frölich und getrost,
in deinem Dienst beständig bleiben,
die Trübsal uns nicht abtreiben.
O Herr durch dein Krafft uns bereit,
und stärck des Fleisches Blödigkeit,
daß wir hie ritterlich ringen,
durch Tod und Leben zu dir dringen
Halleluja. Halleluja. [p.24]
You sacred warmth, sweet consolation,
now help us always to remain joyful and comforted
in your service,
do not let sorrow drive us away!
O Lord, through your power make us ready
and strengthen the feebleness of our flesh
so that we may bravely struggle
through life and death to reach you!
Halleluja! Halleluja! [Francis Browne translation: BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Texts/Chorale103-Eng3.htm ]

During Bach’s Christological cycle of oratorios in 1734-35, it is possible that Bach presented a now-lost Pentecost Oratorio on May 29, 1735.

Not to be outdone, Bach on Pentecost Sunday, 1746 or 1747, presented the Cantata 34, “O ewiges Feuer, o Ursprung der Liebe” (O eternal fire, O wellspring of love), a quotation from Acts 2:3. The music is a parody of the 1726 sacred Wedding Cantata with the same incipit, BWV 34a, but with no closing chorale -- a technique which he used when recycling Cöthen serenades for Leipzig Easter and Pentecost Festivals.

Possible Pentecost Sunday Missae

Besides cantatas for Pentecost Sunday Services, Bach also presented Missae Mass movements in main service between Latin Prayer and the Words of Institution (communion):

BWV 237, Sanctus in C (with Pleni sunt coeli; no Osanna & Benedictus); 5/16/1723 (Pentecost), 5/23/1723 (Trinity Sunday), or June 23, 1723 (St. John the Baptist’s Day)
Sources: (1) score, CPEB to Pölchau (BB DS P.13); (2) parts set 18, CPEB (BB SPK St.114); (3)score Copy (AMB 536-7)
BCW Discussion: Week of October 20, 2013
Literature: BGXI1 (Rust, 1862); NBA II/2 (1978, Platen/Helms), BC E10; BCW
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV233-242.htm
BWV Anh.24/III 167, Kyrie, ?5/28/1724
Sources: (1) score, CPEB to Pölchau (BB DS P.13); (2) parts set, CPEB (BB SPK St.327)
Literature: BGXI1 (Rust, 1862)
BCW Discussion: Week of August 18, 2013
BCW: Missa San Lamberti in A minor, including Kyrie arranged by J.S. Bach, BWV Anh 24 - performed by J.S. Bach in Weimar 1714-1717, and in Leipzig 1724 (?5/28, Pentecost)
www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWVAnh24.htm

Meanwhile, the coming BCW Discussion, Feb 6, 2011, will take up Cantata BWV 218, “Gott der Hoffnung erfulle euch” (God of Hope, fill us). It is Telemann Pentecost Cantata TVWV1:634, once attributed to Bach. Original composed in 1717 in Frankfurt to a Neumeister IV text, it was repeated in 1721, and 1731, BCML http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV218-D.htm. The opening chorus dictum is from Romans 15:13 and also is found in Neumeister’s libretto Bach used for Cantata 59, music that may initially and partially have been composed in Weimar, for Pentecost Sunday, 5/31/1716. Interestingly, Bach omitted setting the final three movements in Neumeister’s text (Dürr <Cantatas of JSB>: 350):

5. Dictum: “Gott der Hoffnung erfüllet euch” (God of Hope, fill us)
6. Aria: “Ich bin der Seligkeit gewiß” (I am knowing of blessing)
7. Chorale: “Gott Heilger Geist, du Tröster wert” (God, the holy spirit, you precious comforter), S. 3, “Erhalt uns, Herr, bei deinem Wort” (Lead us, Lord, with Thy Word), “NLGB 305 Word of God & Christian Church.”

PENTECOST MONDAY (Whit Monday, Second Day of Pentecost); Gospel: John 3: 16-21, God so loved the world; Epistle: Acts 10:42-48 (Holy Spirit’s Descent): Musical Context (Cowling):

Introit: “Cibavit eos” (Liber Usualis 758, 790; not in NLGB) -- Psalm 81:16 – “Cibávit éos ex ádipe fruménti, allelúia: et de pétra, mélle saturávit éos, allelúia, allelúia, alleluia” [He fed them with the fat of wheat (alleluia); and filled them with honey out of the rock (alleluia, alleluia, alleluia)]; orig. Introit, Feast of Corpus Christi (Thursday or Sunday After Trinity Sunday)
Motet: “Spiritus sancti gratia,” “Des Heiligen Geistes reichte Gnad” (NLGB 126)
Hymn de Tempore: “Komm Heiliger Geist, Harre Gott”
Pulpit Hymn: “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist”
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
“Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (God so loved the world), S. Liscow hymn 1685 (68/1) (NLGB 233, Justification)

Pentecost Monday cantatas use the following chorales:

+Cantata 173, “Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut” (1724 ?); no chorale (=173a, “Durchlauchtster Leopold,” Birthday (1717-1722 ?)); +Cantata 68, “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt” (1725), Chorale: Chorus 68/1, “Also hat Gott . . . “; 1726: no text (??repeat BWV 173); Cantata 174, “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte” (1729)

No. 5, chorale “Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, o Herr” (From my heart I hold you dear, O Lord), M. Schalling 1569, 3 stanzas; melody, anonymous 1577 (NLGB 836, St. Michael); BWV 149/1 (S.3), Michael; 19/5, Michael, tenor aria, melody only; 245/40 (S.2).

Pentecost Monday Cantatas

Bach’s three extant cantatas for the Second Day (Monday) of the Pentecost Festival all are based on previously composed materials that were effectively transformed and utilized again. They reveal and reflect Bach’s plan to recycle temporal music while preserving the initial integrity of certain works, particularly the dramatic serenades with their dance-style arias and narrative recitatives. Often in dialogue form, these serenades model an important sacred cantata genre, especially the Jesus-Soul, bass-soprano cantatas, as well as forerunners for both Bach’s other static opera forms, the secular <drammi per musica> and the biblical passion oratorios.

The works and their forms of parody as Pentecost Monday Cantatas are:

1. First performed in 1724 (Church Cantata Cycle 1), Cantata 173, “<Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut<” (Exalted flesh and blood – translation Richard Stokes), is a virtual parody (six of eight movements, same order) with text substitution (new text underlay) from the Cöthen celebratory serenade, BWV173a, “<Durchlauchtster Leopold>” (Most illustrious Leopold -- by Richard Stokes). The unpublished text, possibly by Hunold-Menantes or J. F. Helbig, was for Prince Leopold’s birthday, December 12, between 1717 and 1722). Sacred Cantata BWV 173 was repeated in 1727, 1731, and 1735.3
2. In 1725 (Cycle 2), Cantata 68, “<Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt>” (God so loved the world --John 3:16), has a text by Mariane von Ziegler. Both is both free da-capo arias, Nos. 2 and 4, are expansions of dance-style arias Nos. 13 (pastorale) and 7 (gigue), respectively, from the Weißenfels Hunting Cantata BWV 208, “<Was mir behagt, ist nur die muntre Jagd!>” (The merry hunt is all that I love! -- translation Richard Stokes), with text by Salomo Franck. Surprisingly, one of Bach’s most famous arias, BWV 208/9, “Sheep Safely Graze” (<Schafe können sicher weiden>) was never parodied, while the closing gigue-style chorus, No. 15, later opened Cantata BWV 149, “<Man singet mit freuden vom Sieg>” (Songs are sung with joy of victory – translation Francis Browne) for St. Michael’s Day in the Picander cycle, 1728 or 1729. Pentecost Monday Cantata BWV 68 was repeated 1736-39.
[There is no documentation of a Pentecost Monday cantata performance in 1726. There is a slight possibility of the use of a Johann Ludwig Bach Cantata (1726 Rudolstadt text, music lost); Telemann Cantata TVWV 1:634=BWV 218, “<Gott der Hoffnung erfulle euch>” (May the God of Hope fill you); or a repeat of Cantata BWV 173.]
3. In 1729 (Cycle 4), Cantata 174, <“Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte”> (I love God most high with all my heart – translation Francis Browne) has an opening sinfonia with six woodwinds added, from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048, composed in Cöthen. Bach reused instrumental materials as cantata opening sinfonias in some 15 Leipzig cantatas, mostly between 1725 and 1729.

Other Leipzig Pentecost Festival Performances:

It is possible but not likely that Bach may have repeated two Pentecost Sunday Cantatas BWV 59 and BWV 218=TVWV 1:634, “Gott der Hoffnung erfulle euch” (May the God of Hope fill you), since both are set to Neumeister IV (1717) texts for the three-day Pentecost Festival.

A recently-found cantata text book shows that in 1727, Bach performed the following works:
1st day of Pentecost – “<O ewiges Feuer! o Ursprung der Liebe” (O eternal fire, o source of love), BWV 34 (new); 2nd day of Pentecost – “<Erhöhtes Fleisch und Blut>” (Exalted flesh and blood), BWV 173 (repeat);
3rd day of Pentecost – “<Erwünschtes Freudenlicht”> (Wished-for joy-light), BWV 184 (repeat); Trinity Sunday – “<Gelobet sei der Herr”> (Praise be to you, Lord), BWV 129 (new).
Two other recently-found text books cover a similar church-year period in Leipzig in 1721 and 1722, showing the following works performed:

1721(May 25-27):
Pentecost Sunday, “<Erschallet, ihr Lieder>” (Resound, ye songs), Salomo Franck text 1715), Bach Cantata 172 uses same text; Pentecost Monday, “<Liebe, Liebe, nicht als Liebe>” (Love, Love, not as Love), (Salomo Franck text, 1715), ? composed by Kuhnau; Pentecost Tuesday, “<Mein Jesus ist mein treuer Hirt>” (My Jesus is my trusting Shepherd), Neumeister I text, 1700), ?by Kuhnau or ?Telemann Cantata TVWV 1:1123 for Second Sunday After Easter (<Misericordias Domini>)
1722 (May 14-31):
Ascension Thursday: “<Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen>” (God ascends to rejoicing) (Psalm 47:6), author Johann Jacob Rambach, Sacred Poetry, Halle 1720 (Bach set the same dictum to Cantata BWV 43, Ascension, Rudolstadt text 1726); Pentecost Sunday: “<Geuß sehr tief in mein Herz>” (Set very deep in my heart), no text source; Pentecost Monday: “<Sei, Herr Jesu, sei gepreiset>” (Be, Lord Jesus, be praised), Neumeister II text, for Cantate Sunday); Telemann TVWV 1:1286, Fourth Sunday After Easter (<Cantate>)
Trinity Sunday: “Wir sollen selig werden” (Neumeister IV); ?Telemann Cantata 1:1678 (Trinity Festival)
(Note: Bach’s Leipzig predecessor, Johann Kuhnau, died on June 5, 1722)

For Leipzig Pentecost Festival 1723 (May 16-18), Bach probably presented Cantata BWV 59 on Pentecost Sunday, May 16, 1723 at the Leipzig University Church. Since arriving in Leipzig in early May, Bach assumed his University Church responsibilities on Pentecost Sunday but not his Leipzig cantor and music director positions until the First Sunday After Trinity, May 30, the beginning of the annual school term at the Thomas School.

PENTECOST TUESDAY (Whit Tuesday, Third Day of Pentecost) Theme: Good Shepherd
Gospel: John 10: 1-10, Parable of Sheep; Epistle: Acts 8:14-17 (Holy Spirit in Sumaria)

Musical Context (Motets & Chorales, Cowling:

Introit: “Accipite Jucunditatem” (LU 762): “Accipite jucunditatem glorie vestre, attendite popule meus, legem meam” (Give ear, O my people, to my teaching), Vespers Introit, Thursday After Pentecost (IV. Ezra 2:36, Psalm 77,1).
Motet: “Spiritus sancti gratia,” “Des Heiligen Geistes reichte Gnad” (NLGB 396)
Hymn de Tempore: “Komm Heiliger Geist, Harre Gott”
Pulpit Hymn: “Nun bitten wir den Heiligen Geist”
Hymns for Chancel, Communion & Closing:
“Gott Vater, Sende deiner Geist”
Pentecost Tuesday cantatas use the following chorales: BWV 184, “Erwünschtes Freudenlicht” (1724), Chorale: 184/5, “O Herre Gott, dein Götthlich Wort”; BWV 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen” (1725), Chorale: 175/7=59/3, “Komm heilger Geist” (melody) (NLGB 386); 1729: P-40, “Du, o schones Weltgebaude” (NLGB 385)

Details of Pentecost Tuesday chorales used in cantatas:

1724: 184/5, “O Herre Gott, dein Götthlich Wort” (O Lord God, Thy Godly Word), NLGB 308, Word of God & Christian Church; S.8, “Herr, ich hoff je, du werdest die” (Lord, I hope that you will); A. Wildenfels 8 stanzas, 1526; melody, 15th c. folksong, Weiß mir ein Blümlein blaue” (I know about a little, blue flower); also BWV 757, 1117 (Neumesier Chorale), and OB No. 60, last <de tempore listing> for Reformation
1725: 175/7, “O Gottes Geist, mein Trost und Rat,” S.9, “Nun, werter Geist, ich folg dir” (Now, honored spirit, I follow you); melody “Komm, Heiliger Geist, Herre Gott” (NLGB 391)
1729: P-40/5, “Du, o schones Weltgebaude” (O Beautiful Abode of Earth), J. Franck 1649, 8 stanzas; melody J. Crüger (NLGB 385); S. 8, “Komm, o Tod, du Schlafes Bruder” (Come, O death, you brother of sleep), ?=BWV 301; same stanza, 56/5, Tr.19 (1726).

Pentecost, the Shepherd (Pentecost Tuesday), and Parody

Bach’s< de tempore> cantata cycle for the first half of the church year (Advent Sunday to Trinity Sunday) closes with the 14 services of the Easter Season, from Jesus Christ’s Resurrection to the birth of the Christian (C[c]atholic) Church. The Easter Season closing involves five festivals within six consecutive services: Ascension Day, the three-day Pentecost Festival (Sunday, Monday and Tuesday), and Trinity Sunday, with the Sixth Sunday After Easter (Exaudi) occurring four days after Ascension.

In some respects, the Easter Season is a liminal – “in-between” time, a transition between the life of Jesus Christ on earth (from his coming at Advent to his death on Good Friday) to the<omnes tempore> Trinity Season of some 25 weeks focusing on the teachings and themes of Christianity. The 17-day post-Ascension period with its five feast days is a concentrated liminal time of preparation focusing on the three-day Pentecost Festival with the Gospel Christological themes of the “Promise of the Spirit” (Sunday), “God’s Love of the World” (Monday) and the “Parable of the Sheep” (Tuesday). Each theme embodies the Triune or Trinitarian concept of God the Creator, Jesus as God the Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as God the Sanctifier.

Prominent during the 40 days of the Easter Season proper and the 17-day festival period is the theme of the shepherd and his flock of sheep. The theme is exemplified in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of John the evangelist. Verses 11-16 are the Gospel lesson for the Second Sunday After Easter, <Misericordias Domini>, the “tender mercies” or “goodness” of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The preceding verses, 1-10, are the Gospel lesson for Whit Tuesday or the Third Day of Pentecost, the Parable of the Shepherd.

The theme of the shepherd and his sheep enabled to create numerous pastoral cantatas celebrating events in both the sacred and profane worlds. In the sacred are the <Misericordias Domini> Cantatas BWV 104, 85 and 112, and the Pentecost Tuesday Cantatas BWV 184 and 175, as well as the dramatic secular serenades Bach composed in Weimar in 1713, BWV 208, Bach’s first “modern” cantata, and in Cöthen between 1717 and 1723, followed by 11 serenades, composed in Leipzig. Bach exploited two Baroque stylistic traditions in his serenades: the Italian secular cantata and the French orchestral dance suite.

Bridging the two spheres, Bach was able to recycle half of his “wordly” serenades as sacred vocal works through various forms of parody or new text substitution, with musical adaptation of the original pastoral materials composed for various celebrations. The best known parodied works are the 1713 Weißenfels Hunting Cantata (Jagtkantate) BWV 218, and Weißenfels Shepherd’s Cantata (<Schafekataten>) BWV 249a, “Entflieht, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen” (Fly, vanish, flee, O worries -- translation Richard Stokes) of early 1725 which five weeks later, on April 1, 1725, became the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249.

As Bach competed his first Leipzig sacred cantata cycle, he had been able to utilize most of the vocal material previously composed in the “modern” Italian style. These involve the five Cöthen serenades reused for the Easter Festival, BWV 66(a) on Monday and 134(a) on Tuesday; the Pentecost Festival Cantatas BWV 173(a) and 184(a); and the Trinity Sunday Cantata BWV 194(a).

Bach’s Köthen parodies for the Pentecost Festival, BWV 173 and 184, were among Bach’s most frequently reperformed sacred cantatas: in 1727 (probably the first such Leipzig works to be repeated), and again as part of a seasonal or annual cycle in 1731 and 1735.

In addition, Bach had been able to expand Weimar sacred Sunday materials for use in the first Leipzig cycle (20 cantatas): BWV 21, 185, 147, 186, 199, 162, 163, 70, 61, 63, 154, 155, 181, 18, 182, 31, 4, 12, 172, and 165; and five cantatas later in Leipzig: BWV 72, 80, 158, 161 and 162. There is no record of Bach’s reuse of Weimar Cantatas BWV 54 and 132 and no materials survive for Cantatas BWV Anh. 191, 199, and 209. Further, dance-like materials presumed to have been composed in Cöthen may survive in Church Cantatas BWV 136/1, 143, 145/1,3, 154, 190, 193.

Thus Bach created a significant portion of his well-order church music, especially in the first Leipzig cantata cycle of 1723-24, using previous materials through expansion and parody. Bach the calculating recycler was foremost Bach the opportunist who bears further hearing.

Pentecost Tuesday

In all likelihood, Bach composed only two cantatas for the Third Day of the Pentecost Festival, Pentecost Tuesday: BWV 184, “Erwünschtes Freudenlicht“ (Desired Light of Joy) in 1724, and BWV 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen” (He Calls His Sheep by Name), in 1725. Yet these two works, using recycled materials, are emblematic of Bach’s intense and fruitful interest in popular musical and religious interests of his day as well as his basic strategy to created a significant and meaningful well-order church music to the glory of God.

Pentecost Tuesday: Gospel, John 10:1-10 (Parable of Sheep); Epistle, Acts 8:14-17 (Holy Spirit in Sumaria)
Date (Cy.) | BWV Title | Type/Note
5/30/1724 (1) 184 Erwunschtes Freudenfest Chorus/Parody
5/22/1725 (2) 175 Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen Solo/Partial Parody
6/11/1726 (3) no record
5/27/1727 (1) (184) Erwunschtes Freudenfest /repeat
6/7/1729 (4) [P40] Ich klopf an deine Genadentüre /Picander text only
5/15/1731 (184) Erwunschtes Freudenfest /repeat
5/31/1735 (?184) Erwunschtes Freudenfest /no repeat documented

By contrast, for the next Sunday, the Trinity Festival, that ends the de tempore first half of the church year, Bach presented four different cantatas. He recycled Weimar Cantata BWV 165 and Cöthen serenade 194a while composing new Cantatas BWV 176 (1725) and 129 (1726/27). In addition he presented as the Sanctus in C, BWV 237, and possibly presented the Missa (Kyrie-Gloria) of the B Minor-Mass, BWV 323I, in 1733, followed by the Missae (Kyrie-Gloria), BWV 233-236, in the second half of the 1730s.

Bach’s Interests and Grand Design

When Bach came to Leipzig in early May 1723 to begin what would become his last calling as church cantor and city director of music, he brought with him some 30 sacred cantatas composed in Weimar between 1714 and 1717 and a handful of secular serenades recently composed as capellemeister at Cöthen. These would help him substantially fulfill his primary composing task of providing new works for the some 60 sacred services during the church year.

Serendipity prevailed with the Cöthen dance movements. These enabled Bach to reuse the pastoral-influenced shepherd music, with new sacred texts, to engage churchgoers with familiar sacred biblical themes and popular profane dances in the gallant style. At the same time, Bach was able to preserve the basic form of these previously-composed works. The sacred Weimar cantatas were expanded mostly with additional recitatives and chorales emphasizing the biblical lessons and sermon of the particular service, while virtually all the Cothen music was retained with new substitute texts and new appropriate chorale hymns.

Cantata BWV 184 is among the five sacred “Shepherd Cantatas” with pastoral music Bach composed for Pentecost Tuesday and the Second Sunday after Easter. For Pentecost Tuesday, the two Shepherd Cantatas, BWV 184, “Erwünschtes Freudenlicht“ (Desired Light of Joy) and 175, “Er rufet seinen Schafen mit Namen” (He Calls His Sheep by Name), are based on the Gospel of John, 10:1-11, “Jesus as the true Shepherd.” Cantata BWV 184 preserves its three Köthen dance-forms: minuet (2), polonaise (4), and gavotte (6). Cantata BWV 175 of 1725 has two pastorales, a newly-written aria (2), and an expanded, parodied aria (4) from Köthen Cantata BWV 173a/7.

For the Second Sunday after Easter (Misericodias Domini), the three Shepherd Cantatas are based upon the Gospel of John 10: 12-16, “I am the Good Shepherd,” and the Epistle Lesson, I Peter 2:21-25, the biblical illusions to one sheep led astray, as well as the Collect, the deliverance from peril. The three cantatas are BWV 104, “Du Hirte Israel, höre" (You Shepherd of Israel, Give Ear), composed in 1724 with an opening pastorale chorus and a siciliana bass aria (5); Cantata BWV 85, “Ich bin ein gutter Hirt” (I am a Good Shepherd), composed in 1725, with a pastorale tenor aria (5); and the chorale Cantata BWV 112 for Misericordias Domini 1731, “Der Herr ist mein getreuer Hirt” (The Lord is my Faithful Shepherd, Psalm 23) with a pastorale alto aria (2) and a bouree soprano-tenor duet (4).

The significance of the pastoral(e) is summarized in Little and Jenne, <Dance and the Music of J. S. Bach> (1991: 47): “Yet the classic proportions of the gavotte, both as music and as dance, reach a high point in popularity during the “pastoral” craze of the 1720s and 1730s, when those who lived in cities and courts idealized a simpler rural life, with shepherds and shepherdesses doing rustic dances indoors to the accompaniment of bagpipes. It was during this period that Bach wrote most of his gavottes, frequently including pastoral references but always retaining the ideals of calm balance and expected rhyme, which are so characteristic of this dance.”

Other notable pastorales include the opening alto da-capo aria, Cantata 174, “Ich liebe den Höchsten von ganzem Gemüte,” (I love God most high with all my heart – Francis Browne translation to Picander text), Pentecost Monday, 1729; the opening chorus of the Acension Oratorio, May 19, 1735, “Lobet Gott in seinem Reichen” (Praise God in his Kingdom), parodied from the openings of two lost secular cantatas for the 1732 rededication of the Thomas School (BWV Anh. 18), and the Nameday of Saxon Prince Augustus III (BWV Anh. 12) in 1733; as well as two instrumental “pifa” shepherd pipe sinfonias to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248 in 1734, and Handel’s Oratorio “The Messiah” in 1741.

Besides BWV 184 for PentecostTuesday there are four other dance-infused Köthen serenatas parodied in 1724 as church cantatas in the first cantata cycle. They are: BWV 66a, “Der Himmel dacht auf Anhalts Ruhm und Glück” (The Heavens Resound in Anhalt’s Glory and Fortune), for Easter Monday; BWV 134a, “Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht” (The Time, the Day, the Year Make”), for Easter Tuesday; BWV 173, “Erhötes Fleisch und Blut” (Exhalted Flesh and Blood), for Pentecost Monday; and BWV 194, “Höchsterwüschtes Freudenfest” (Most Highly Desired Festival of Joy), for Trinity Sunday. The parodist librettist is unknown and the speculation centers on Bach and his Thomas Church pastor, Christian Weiss Sr.

Bach also composed two secular birthday Shepherd Cantatas for the Court at Sachsen-Weißenfels: BWV 208, “Was mir behagt, ist die mutre Jagd” (What pleases me above all is the lively hunt – Frances Browne translation of Salamo Franck text), Bach’s first “modern,” Italian-style cantata, Feb. 23, 1713, and BWV 249a, “Entflieht, verschwindet, entweichet, ihr Sorgen” (Fly, vanish, flee, O worries -- Richard Stokes translation of Picander text), Feb. 23, 1725, which five weeks later was parodied as the Easter Oratorio, BWV 249, on Easter Sunday, April 1.

As Bach’s first year in Leipzig came to its end with the 50-day Easter Season of 14 services in 1724, he could have had two strategies for completing the first sacred cantata cycle. They would depend on the time needed for his composition of the required Good Friday oratorio Passion during the preceding closed Lenten period of 50 days when no cantatas were presented. If he had been able to complete his <St. John Passion, BWV 245>, with spare time available, Bach could have composed an Easter Festival Oratorio and began cantatas for the first Sundays after Easter with a unified libretto from a new Leipzig poet.

If time was a great constraint, Bach’s Easter Season alternative was to utilize the existing music from Weimar: two cantatas for Easter Sunday (BWV 4 and 172), Cantata BWV 12 for the Third Sunday After Easter (Jubilate), two Pentecost Cantatas (BWV 172 and 59), and Trinity Sunday Cantata BWV 165. For the Second and Third Days (Monday and Tuesday) of the Easter and Pentecost Festivals, and Trinity Sunday, Bach would reuse five Cöthen serenades. The few remaining Easter Season services would have new cantatas from the same librettist Bach had worked with during crucial periods in the rest of the first cantata cycle, possibly Pastor Weiss.

As part of his grand design for a well-ordered church music to the glory of God, Bach was already looking ahead to the immediate composition of a new, second cantata cycle, beginning again on the First Sunday After Trinity Sunday, the official start of the half-year Trinity season as well as the new academic year at the Thomas School. His option was to wait until the end of 1724 to begin at the traditional start of the church season on the First Sunday in Advent. As it turned out, Bach took the Easter Season alternative of reusing mostly old music, delayed the initial plan one year, and -- without a break -- began the composition of a second cycle of newly-composed chorale cantatas.

FOOTNOTES

1 BACH'S MOTET COLLECTION: Otto Riemer, "Erhard Bodenschatz und sein Florilegium Portense" Schünigen: Kaminsky,1927; ML 410 B67R4. NLGB, BACH'S HYMN BOOK: Jürgen Grimm, "Das neu [?] Leipziger Gesangbuch des Gottfried Vopelius (Leipzig 1682),"Berlin: Merseburger, 1969. ML 3168 G75.
2 Petzoldt, Bach Kommentar: Theologisch Musikwissenschaftlicke Kommentierung der Geistlichen Vokalwerke Johann Sebastan Bachs; Vol. 2, Die Geistlichen Kantaten vom 1. Advent bis zum Trinitatisfest; Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart (Kassel: Bärenreiter, 2007: 959, 1001, 1031).
3 BWV 173a & Serenades -- Good Reading In addition to Julian Mincham’s exemplary studies of Cantatas BWV 173(a), BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/BWV173.htm, there are four accessible BCW articles on the Serenade BWV 173a and Bach’s Köthen and Leipzig Serenades: A. <Bach’s Dramatic Music: Serenades, Drammi per Musica, Oratorios> Author: William Hoffman (August 2008); “Royal Court at Köthen: Serenades” and “Leipzig: More Serenades”; BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/HoffmanBachDramaII.htm. B. <The Historical Figures of the Birthday Cantatas of Johann Sebastian Bach> [PDF thesis] Marva J. Watson, May 2010: CHAPTER 3 – Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen, p.27; The Birthday Cantata for Prince Leopold (BWV173a), p.32
BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Articles/Historical-Figures-Watson.pdf. C. Thomas Braatz wrote (July 19, 2003): BWV 173a & BWV 173a - Provenance: See: Cantata BWV 173a – Provenance,
BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Ref/BWV173-Ref.htm. Dürr’s Commentaries; See: Cantata BWV 173a – Commentary, BCW: http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Guide/BWV173-Guide.htm.

David Stancliffe wrote (May 25, 2015):
Thanks for this: one small correction.

The liturgical colour for Pentecost, the final or 'fiftieth' day of Easter, is always red. Whitsun or White Sunday refers to the custom, still being observed in the north of England in the 1960s, of having new or 'white' clothes for the feast. Hence the Whitsun walks - the tradition of an outside walk or pilgrimage on Whit Monday - when you could show off your new clothes.

David Stancliffe
Formerly Bishop of Sallisbury, and a regular conductor of period instrument performances of Bach Cantatas since the early 1970s, and now doing them OVPP for the most part

Douglas Cowling wrote (May 25, 2015):
David Stancliffe wrote:
< The liturgical colour for Pentecost, the final or 'fiftieth' day of Easter, is always red. Whitsun or White Sunday refers to the custom, still being observed in the north of England in the 1960s, of having new or 'white' clothes for the feast. Hence the Whitsun walks - the tradition of an outside walk or pilgrimage on Whit Monday - when you could show off your new clothes. >
(Grin) Actually, you might both be wrong. There was no standardized colour sequence in the Western Church until after the Council of Trent's missal adopted the colours of the papal chapel which became the norm in the Catholic church. Before that, there was a kaleidoscopic and idiosyncratic use of colours in the medieval church. In the Sarum rite of the Engish church, white was the colour of Pentecost, hence its popular moniker "Whitsun" (= White Sunday) Liturgical colours disappeared in England at the Reformation and did not return until the end of the 19th century when the Roman sequence became popular.

Luther's churches were not affected by the new reforms of Trent, and preserved the medieval variety. St. Thomas's Leipzig had its own rather bewildering traditions: Stiller describes the customs:

“On the eve of Reformation ‘the blue pulpit parament was hung,’ [and] on the Purification of Mary ‘the green pulpit parament was hung, and likewise the green paraments for altar and lectern’. Although ‘black paraments’ were used throughout Lent, the ‘bright hangings’ were put up on the eve of Palm Sunday, and ‘this decoration remained the whole day, even though the Passion is preached at Vespers’. Also on the eve of Maundy Thursday ‘bright colors were used,’ but after the noonday service on Maundy Thursday ‘the bright colors were removed and replaced by the black.’ Also regarding Easter Eve it is reported that ‘bright colors were used,’ and the remark concerning the First Sunday in Advent is interesting: ‘No black paraments are used, but the red and the green colors remain’…. On Maundy Thursday ‘the liturgist [Administrator] is robed in the green chasuble’. For Good Friday: ‘On this day the liturgist wears the black chasuble’. For Epiphany: ‘On this festival the dark chasuble [das Messgewand mit dem Mohr] is customarily used’. Also on Palm Sunday ‘the liturgist donned the green ch'” (Stiller, 65).

He doesn't mention Pentecost but it may have used "bright colours" of gold, white, yellow or red. Or they may have had the old tradition of using the "Best" vestments, those with the most elaborate embroidery. The modern Lutheran Church, like the Anglicans, began to use the Tridentine colour sequence in the late 19th century.

In this famous painting, the 16th century pastor wears a heavily embroidered white chasuble. Note how the sides of the poncho-shape have been cut up to free up the arms. This is the so-called 'fiddle-back' design that became popular at the end of the 15th century: http://gottesdienstonline.blogspot.ca/2010/09/eucharistic-vestments.html

Doug Cowling
Director of Music
St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
Toronto

George Bromley wrote (May 26, 2015):
[To David Stancliffe] Very complex, I will stick to being a Baptist and continue to love Bach.

 

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